Monday, November 30, 2009

I Aspire to be “Rich”!

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By: Chalene Johnson

It feels much better to be “rich” than wealthy. As we were close to wrapping up work on the Turbo Jam® infomercial, I have had a few moments to reflect on the experience. I had experienced richness, wealth and even a few moments of emotional poverty. What I have learned is that those of us who share with others are truly “rich”.Honestly, it was the most challenging thing I’d ever been through. I pride myself on keeping my kids first and everything else second. That was the part that killed me. When you own your own business, you can let things slide if there’s an important baseball game or ballet recital. When you’re working with other entities, that’s not always an option. Despite the challenges, everything went so well thanks to my “family” at Powder Blue and my family-family.

I truly couldn’t be more blessed to have found a spouse who graciously stepped up to the plate, taking over 100% of the family matters and running our business in my brief absence. He mastered the art of pony tail making on a moving target, cooked the meals, chauffeured the kids, chatted with the other Moms at dance class, finished the laundry and the end of the year school reports, and all the while, being my biggest cheerleader. He kept me motivated on the days that I (literally) worked through the night and pumped me back up, when I felt a little deflated. I am richly in love with a great guy.I am also certain that we chose the right company to bring Turbo Jam® to the masses.

I have radar for people with good hearts. When I met John and Carl (the founders of Beachbody®), they immediately set off my “good peeps” alarms! These are my, “my kind”. They’re all about customer service, but they like to take chances and do “real” fitness. They’re hip, they’re cool, they’re nice, they’re funny and get this… they’re fit!!!! I can’t tell you how many unfit fitness executives I met with.

Carl, John and especially Lara Ross, have made sure my program is represented with authenticity and all the kooky-crazy-non-conventional stuff that’s “just me”, flaws and all. Let me just tell you, Beachbody® has more than earned my respect. When I explained that Turbo is all about the music, they agreed. They have put together the biggest budget for music I’ve ever heard of! Turbo Jam® is everything I hoped it would be… and so much more! They took such good care of me. There were always flowers and fresh fruit waiting in my hotel room, thoughtful calls and thank you notes from their staff, when I should have been thanking THEM! I felt so honored. rocks!

Turbo enthusiasts will be proud!Aside from constantly worrying about missing moments with my kids, the second most challenging part of the project was preparing the workouts and music for the 7 workouts. Those who know me are well aware of my need to be a “control freak” when it comes to music. If I were 15, I’d write to MTV and see if I could be “MADE” into a dance club D.J. I’m a music freak. I like to add perfectly timed sound effects, just the right bass lines, and hard core, motivating re-mixing! As is typical for me, I finished all of this prep work at about 3 a.m. on the 1st day of our 3 day shoot, for the first 7 exercise videos in 3 days. I was still tinkering with the musical sound tracks in my dressing room up until about 5 minutes before they announced “We’re rollin’!” With my heart pounding and my head racing, I would sprint to the set with a CD in hand and yell, “Wait, I have a better version!”I had this great group of incredible Turbo friends behind me, my sister and best friends, like Anna-Rita, Holly and Mindy. Beachbody® created a killer set and hired the best exercise video director in the business. We were filming in an actual movie studio sound stage with real camera men, video editors, a team of make-up artists (which I desperately needed, having lost so much sleep), Kraft services and all the “Hollywood” stuff I had only dreamed of! I finished taping each workout and the director (watching remotely from an editing truck) would announce over the p.a. system, “Okay…let’s move on.” Things went great. Everyone said it was the best “cast” they’ve ever seen. They couldn’t believe we were all friends and how much fun everyone had. The various crews could be seen dancing, kicking and punching while we filmed each section.

Many commented they were blown away with how cool this workout was, how contagious the energy, and motivating the music. I should have been feeling pretty good about things at that moment. I should have been soaking in all of the compliments and kudos. But something felt wrong.As for the wealth vs. rich part, I was about to get a big fat check for something I’d gladly do for free, i.e. sharing Turbo Jam® and motivating people to move! We had just wrapped filming all the videos. Friends and long time business associates were calling to congratulate me. They all opened with, “Aren’t you excited? Don’t you feel great?”

I didn’t know how to answer. The truth was, I felt “weird”. I tried to hide the fact that I just felt “empty”. In fact, I felt shame for not feeling “elated” to have finally realized this huge goal I had been working towards for so many years. I couldn’t put my finger on it. These were perhaps the most important workouts of my life and I felt… well… I felt…. “weird”. I can’t think of a better word. I just didn’t feel like me. It was uncomfortable.

I went back to my normal teaching schedule on Tuesday of the following week. Whew… I began to feel “normal” again. It’s true. I’m not an actress and I guess that’s why it felt so “weird” after filming the videos. Where was my Turbo family? Where were my loyal front row regulars? I was missing the faces, energy and personalities that inspire me to lift them up. I never realized how much my own students, like Leili, Astrid, Claire, Ed, Zane, Scott, Tina, Camilla, etc. etc. have done to inspire me, each time I teach. It brings out the best in me when I see the beautiful face of a woman with 75 pounds to lose or a man who is sure this couldn’t be an intense workout. I do what I do for them. I need the inspiration of these people as much as they need mine. It feels like I’m flying when I’m in a room full of people sweating and smiling all at once. It must be like what a pastor feels when the congregation affirms with an infectious, “Aaaaaaamen!!” on Sunday morning. It’s like heaven on earth for this little fitness preacher. Motivating a group of people makes me feel like a rich woman.

But, they weren’t there. I was missing the tall guy in the front who makes noise all hour, the grimaces, the smiles, and struggles that so fuel me. Instead of feeding off of the amazing energy of the people I know and love, I was trying to get something back from the reflective lens of a camera. I felt like I was teaching to a faceless class.


We finished filming and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. It took about 4 days to fully recover. That week I filmed the outdoor Turbo Jam® class at Universal City Walk. There to support me was a close friend and fellow fitness professional. I shared with him my “weirdness”. As if it were so obvious anyone should be able to figure it out, he said, “That’s because you’re not an actress and last week you had to play the part of an instructor. We [fitness professionals] do what we do, NOT because of the paycheck, but because it is fulfilling to see people’s faces light up when they’re having a great time and the joy people feel when they reach a new goal, or just master a move.”

Not even 5 minutes later, I met a woman who had lost 30 pounds doing Power 90®. She explained she was happy to hear that Turbo Jam® would be coming to Beachbody® and excited to invite me into her home. We spoke for only minutes, but for me it was a connection. She told me of the message boards at Beachbody® and the many people she’d met. Her name was Andrea and she probably has no idea, but she cured me. I was out of my funk. The cloud of “weirdness” had lifted.

Andrea, or at least the person who Andrea represented, was exactly what I needed to lose that “weird” feeling. I finally had a face. That’s all I needed. I just needed a face. All I wanted was someone I could “see” when I looked into the camera and assured, “You can get through this!”

I recently finished another set of Turbo Jam® videos. What a different experience. The viewer will probably not detect a difference, but man did I feel it! This time I could look at the camera and see the many faces I see everyday on the message boards, those who work out with me on Wowy and the special people who have visited me in Southern California since finding Turbo Jam® through the infomercial. This time I could see so many faces and the experience was truly fulfilling.

I am richly blessed to do what I do. It’s no wonder that many instructors, by night, are doctors, lawyers and independently wealthy folks, by day. It’s no wonder that despite his amazing success with TaeBo®, Billy Blanks still teaches a healthy dose of “real” classes at his facility in Sherman Oaks, CA. It’s no wonder that when I ask a room full of people to raise their hands if they “love” their job, the ones that do are in professions that help others, teachers, nurses, firemen, mothers, personal trainers. To do what you love will make you rich, maybe not wealthy, but I’d rather be rich.

[Side note: I always read my mini-articles out loud to Bret when I’m done writing them. I do it because I like to see if the words sound as conversational as I intend them. Boy, this one was tough to get through. It will probably read like a normal account of my month, but for me, this one represents so much. It was a turning point. I couldn’t read two words without doing a lip quivering sob. I don’t know if writing this was therapeutic, or just that rush of emotion when you have a (insert Oprah voice here) “light bulb moment” or perhaps I’m just hormonal (sorry…too much information). All I know is that I’m so happy now; cured of my “weirdness” and rich, rich rich...richer than I thought I could feel! ]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The truth of the matter is that most people aren’t going to think you’re “the bomb”. At best, most people will find you likeable, tolerable, nice, efficient, a good worker, decent person, helpful neighbor or maybe a friendly acquaintance. Yet when it comes to choosing their all time favorite, it’s probably not you. It ain’t me either! Don’t take it too hard. In fact, we should be contented. Think about it. We only have enough time in our day, week, month, year and life to devote meaningful time to a small group of amazingly important people. Too many people live their lives desperately controlled by their need to have, not just approval, but the adoration of everyone they meet. Some are certain others will reject them if they are “just” who they are. I suppose we’re all guilty of meeting someone so remarkable that we find ourselves in some small way longing to be more like them.

When we held auditions for the cast of Turbo Jam® I asked people who I know and adore audition for the director. I invited people who I would want to spend time with. I think 40 auditioned. There was room for 8. It was difficult to help those I know so well, understand it was “nothing personal" if they were not selected. I assured friends that we may have needed a certain look, a white 40ish female, a muscular black male, tall, but not too tall, a red head with pierced ears or a petite green-haired alien with high kicks. Yet, I found even the most self-assured of my fitness friends questioned their physique, their experience, the outfit they wore, their hairstyle or energy level that day. Quite simply, they weren’t what she (the director) was looking for and there was nothing anyone could have done differently to be selected.

The point is that most of the people who cross our paths in life have their own agendas. They are looking for someone other than us. For them, we are too short, too tall, too quiet or too loud. We are too young or too old, the wrong sex, or the wrong body type. They are looking for someone easier to dominate or someone less intense. They aren’t looking for us. The solution:

Get very good at being
exactly who you are.

This principal applies personally and professionally. When I set out to make a fitness program most people told me I needed to be more drill like, more like Billy Blanks, if my classes were going to have as much appeal as his. I tried for a while, but that didn’t fit me. I like to groove. I watched a hundred fitness videos trying to figure out which traits I could pick up on. I didn’t much look like any of the tall, lean, graceful beauties I had come to know in fitness videos. I’m short, stubby and a bit of a spaz. Each time I heard a critique of my programs or my style, I jerked to attention and wondered what I could do to appeal to that “one” person. I started to drive myself crazy. Somewhere in those early years I came to terms with the notion that I was not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

Have you ever taught a packed class, received praise from dozens, felt the joy and energy in the room, yet the one person who walked out early with a snarled look on her face still haunts you days later? Maybe you weren’t her style of instructor or maybe she had to leave?

You don’t need to be everyone’s cup of tea. If everyone was looking for you, then you wouldn’t have enough time to devote to the people important to you. If it were possible to please everyone, there would be no Pepsi, only Coke.

You need to know who you are not, in order to know who you are. Be you times two! Don’t doubt yourself, or hold back. Those who do are tolerable, nice, average, boring, or nondescript are also not memorable. I’d take the comments of a legion of critics; if it meant I could connect with a modest group of people that would find, in me or my programs, “exactly” what they were looking for. Hooray! We found each other. Think of your favorite people - those who really leave their mark on you. Picture the quilt of characters that forms in your mind, each person wildly different than the next, but each uniquely engaging. As amusing as you find them, you’ve probably introduced them to others who do not see the appeal. Don’t change to be more like anyone other than you; just get better at recognizing the best parts of you.

Boldly be you, the real you, even at the risk that many may not care for “your type”. Be the person you are when you’re around the people that find YOU amusing. Those who are looking for exactly what you have, need to be able to recognize you when they find you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11 Difference between Being Tall and Being Small

By: Chalene Johnson
To all subscribers to my blog: My blog has moved to a new location
home Please join me there, I’ll be able to share a lot more videos with you and the new blog has more flexibility and features and it is an integrated part of our whole website.
In many of my lectures I refer to people as "Tall" or "Small". Of course, I’m not referring to a person’s height, but rather their stature of character and optimism. Here are 11 examples of how I personally define "Small" and "Tall". 11 Differences Between Being Tall and Being Small. To purchase the lectures DVD please click here:

1. A Tall person says, "I can see your point. I will work on that." A small person says, "That's your problem. I’m fine the way I am."
2. A Tall person doesn't need drama and works to keep it at bay. A small person doesn't realize how drama dependant they have become.
3. A Tall person gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. A Small person assumes the worst of people.
4. A Tall person works to be their best. A Small person just needs to be right and refuses to change.
5. A Tall person recognizes they grow stronger when they focus on self-improvement. A Small person sees admitting the need for improvement as weakness.
6. A Tall person conducts themselves with integrity, even when it's not convenient. A Small person consistently places their own interest first.
7. A Tall person looks at where they're going and who they can help along the way. A Small person looks at where they could be and blames others for
their circumstances.
8. A Tall person works to surround themselves with people who challenge them to be more. A Small person surrounds themselves with people who
will nod in agreement.
9. A Tall person can see both sides of the story. A Small person shares "their side" of the story with anyone who will listen, in order to feel better about themselves.
10. A Tall person looks to those who are more successful and learns from their experiences. A Small person resents those more successful and works to convince others of their faults.
11. A Tall person is able to see the positive side of even the most doomed situation. A Small person is blinded by only the negative and strains to see the positive.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Change your Brain Change your Life

By: Chalene Johnson
To all subscribers to my blog: My blog has moved to a new location home Please join me there, I’ll be able to share a lot more videos with you and the new blog has more flexibility and features and it is an integrated part of our whole website.

The Key to Long Term Success - Changing the Voice in your Head

What lives in your mind, affects your thinking. Your thinking affects your performance, your mood, your beliefs, and your ability to reach your goals. When we slip, or believe we should have done a better job of something, we beat ourselves up mentally. We say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to anyone else in our lives. “What a loser!” “I can’t believe how stupid you are.” “You’ll never be able to do it right.” We become what we think about most. Our own self-deprecating comments become our greatest obstacle.

When you Change your Thinking, you Change your Life.

Have you ever stopped and realized you had made things worse in your mind than they really were? Once the facts came to light, you recognized how you had allowed your imagination to take things off into a deep dark place where monsters live. It’s amazing how effectively we can convince ourselves that one of our co-workers is out to get us, that someone doesn’t like us. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of feeling tired because you tell yourself you’re tired. Certainly we’ve all had moments of self-pity; only to be snapped back to reality with the story of someone struggling with the illness of a child, or a life altering event. When that happens you reevaluate the way in which you were processing your own circumstances; you put yourself back in check and think, “Wow! I guess I really don’t have it that bad. I need to be more thankful.”

As you continue on your life fitness journey, remember that a great deal of your training time should be spent on exercises for your brain. When it comes to fitness, the number one area of the body that is most important and most often overlooked is…the brain!

It takes practice. It takes training. So many people defeat their own best attempts to lose weight or maintain their weight loss by speaking negatively to themselves. I hear from so many people, especially women who tell me they actually repeat negative mantras to themselves like, “I’m fat. I’m ugly. I don’t deserve this. I’m disgusting.”

Regrettably, many women recall hearing their own mothers say these things about themselves. Young girls take their self-esteem cues from their mothers. With a young daughter myself, I worry endlessly that my “line of work” may negatively impact my daughter. Think about it… my job is to help people lose weight and get fit. I can’t help but get excited when people reach their weight loss goals. Bret and I try to be extra careful not to spend too much time talking about people’s weight loss, but we have plenty of slips. I just never want my children to think that they have to be ultra fit or a certain weight to have Mom and Dad’s approval. As a mom, I try never to compare my body, speak negatively of my weight, or others in the presence of my daughter. Intentionally I praise those who look healthy, fit, or who have curves. I compliment women in the celebrity spotlight who have “normal” body types and try to put a negative spin on those who are dangerously thin. “Wow, doesn’t she look sad and weak; poor thing. She might be sick. She needs a healthy diet.” Certainly she’ll be inundated with plenty of negative messages from the media, but I have an obligation to do my part as her most influential role model. I work to improve my own behavior and word choice in her presence, as my opinions will affect the voice she hears in her own head.

Through awareness and practice we can change the way we speak to ourselves. It’s time to change the tone of “that little voice” you hear in your head. How empowering to hear the same positive motivation that you would give a child or someone else for whom you care about. If you care about other people, you need to care about and speak to yourself in a way that is positive, supportive, loving and encouraging. Have a sense of humor!

From this day forward, speak to yourself in a way that you would someone you care about. Change that little voice inside your head.

I want you to know that you’re beautiful. God doesn’t make mistakes. Believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Know that you can do this. Believe that you can be fit. You deserve it. You may learn from your experiences, but you will never fail. You will be, and you are, succeeding.

These are the messages I want you to hear when that little voice speaks to you. Lift yourself up when you’re tired, sad or disappointed in yourself. What would you tell your best friend, your sister, your child? Encourage!

By speaking positively you’ll begin to think better of yourself. You’ll start treating other people better. You’ll begin treating yourself better. Just change the way you feel about yourself by changing that little voice inside your head. Will it happen overnight? Probably not. Like all exercise, it must be repeated and practiced for that part of the body to become strong and fit.

Change your thinking and you’ll change your body. Change your thinking and you’ll change your life.

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